Play all the Seniors
It is a question of timing.
In basketball, it surfaces when the home team is trailing late in the game. Fans admire the fighting spirit as their team presses, fouls, and spends timeouts hoping, against increasingly long odds, to pull out the win. But it gradually becomes apparent that the game cannot be won.
At a dinner party, the question becomes obvious around midnight. It’s been a lovely evening and some fun may still be squeezed out. But the hosts look tired and momentum is fading.
So it comes down to this: How do you know when it’s time to make the graceful exit? To be neither the party-pooper nor that last guest whom the hosts are just wishing would let them get to bed. How does the coach know when hope is lost and it’s time to stop fouling, call one more timeout, and put all the seniors into the game,
And so it is with my stage 4 colon-to-liver-to-lung cancer.
I want to be remembered as a fighter. No one wants “Well it got tough and he quit” on his tombstone. Yet it may be worse to have the phrase “It was a blessing” spoken too many times at my funeral. Because, of course, the blessing will really have been conferred on my exhausted family and friends who secretly wish I’d left the party a little earlier.
When my oncologist for the last 10 years recently said ,“If you want to stop treatment, I would not argue with you”, Carol and I realized that it’s time to ‘Play all the Seniors’ and enjoy a graceful exit.
Now that the fight is over we have more time to reflect on, and share, what we've learned. We hope it may help other patients and caregivers on this same journey and provide a smile or two.